The Ultima Storm, Part 1

This is the launch of the Greater Fort Worth Writers 2013 Round Robin, a sci-fi/dystopian story launched by member Matthew Bryant. Please check back regularly as we update the story with new installments from members.

Part 1

No one dared to draw a breath.  The ascent from take-off would push the massive station through the stratosphere in a handful of minutes.  Dozens of rockets propelled the egg-shaped shuttle up into the chaotic dark clouds, threatening to open a new funnel at any moment.  As long as it cleared the worst of the weather, there was hope.

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GFW Writer Matthew Bryant is Interviewed on ‘My Seryniti’ Blog

GFW Writer Matthew Bryant was interviewed by Nova Reylin at ‘My Seryniti’ blog the other week and know you all would love to read about his journey in writing TOWERS. Enjoy!!
Matthew Bryant is the author of Towers. When he first approached me I thought maybe this book wasn’t for me. I did tell Matt that my husband might really be into this. It sounded perfect for him. So, my hubby has it on his Nook, started reading last week, sadly his reading time is a lot shorter than mine. He’s about halfway through and the more he tells me about Towers the more jealous I get that he’s reading it!! So I thought I would give you the information about Towers. See what you think. All I know is that the first page is awesome and it sounds like the goodness doesn’t end there!
  • Information: Towers
  • Author: Matthew Bryant
  • Release Date: November 3rd 2012
goodreads

Summary:Towers

The next job, the next fix, the next thrill has been the mindset of Heath Fallows since the day he abandoned his broken home for the harsher call of the streets. But being a homeless thief in a conglomerate society will only get you so far, and he soon finds himself surviving by skirting outside of business infrastructure.
A career of breaking and entering and drug-peddling is brought to a screeching halt when a successful job leads to being chased down by a supernatural entity and left for dead.
Working outside of his traditional networks, Heath is forced to dig deeper into the underbelly of society, locked closets of high culture, and the deadly unknown beyond the district boundaries to uncover what he overlooked and the truth behind the towers of corporate dominance.
spiderline
We’ll get that review up as soon as he’s done reading but for now please enjoy this interview with such a lovely author!
Hi Matt! Thank you so much for doing this interview for My Seryniti.
Nova – How did Towers start for you? Image, Idea, Dream?
Matt – I’d originally written a much longer work called Doors.  It took me about seven years to finish it and, when it was done, I realized that I hated the book.  But I absolutely loved the world that I’d built and Heath – who was a wise-ass side-character who ended up being far more memorable than the main protagonist.  So I scrapped the first book and wrote an entirely different story following the mischief and misfortune of Heath Fallows.
Nova – Did you have any growing pains with Towers?
Matt – Certainly not to the level I’d had with the first work.  The hardest part was often asking myself, “Wait.. how the hell is he going to survive this scene?”  When you have supernatural antagonists squaring off against a nobody, you have to make the protagonist pretty clever with some luck dolloped on.
Nova – I have to admit, I was thinking Towers may not be for me, but then I was reading a Goodreads review and it says this is Dystopian! One of my very favorite genres! Can you tell us a little more about Towers?
Matt – Certainly!  The story revolves around Heath Fallows, a runaway who lived with a group of homeless kids for a short period of time, only to have his friends wiped out as ‘vermin’.  Civilization as he knows it is broken up into twelve districts, each owned by a major corporation – each at a constant war with the other.  Instead of sending in soldiers, these corporations will hire thieves and saboteurs to do their dirty work.  This is where Heath falls in, having a natural aptitude at getting in and out of places.
Things take a much darker turn when he realizes one of the districts, the same that killed his friends, is working with the Ancients – a name given to supernatural beings known for their evil nature, but mostly regarded as myth and fairy tale to the average citizen.  This begins a long, grueling mission to get to the truth behind this alliance before it gets him – and more unfortunates – captured, exploited, and killed in the process.
Nova – Do you have a message you try to convey when writing a story?
Matt – Absolutely!  There are many messages integrated (though sometimes deeply buried) within Towers.  Heath’s moral flexibility gives him lots of ‘room for improvement’.  I used to teach English at a Juvenile Detention Center, and the rare student that would come back and let us know he’d turned his life around was always cause for celebration.
Nova – What are you reading right now?
Matt – A couple of things.  I’ve been diving into Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak series – just finished the third book, Tunnels of Blood.  They’re cute.  A little dark for young adult, but definitely written for the age group.  The teenage boy in me is hooked.
Also reviewing Black Moon by Jessica Mcquay.  I saw that you gave it five stars, so I’m keeping an open mind.  Not my genre, but sometimes people really surprise you.  Amy Joy’s Dystopian YA novel, The Acadamie, was certainly not intended for adult male audiences, but was one of the most memorable works I’ve read all year.
Nova – Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
Matt – Yes and no.  I would love to be as imaginative as Neil Gaiman – or create worlds as beautifully as Clive Barker – but for now I just do what I do best.
Nova – You mention Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman as a couple of favorite authors. What works of theirs do you like best and why?
Matt – Oh wow.  Everything?  For Clive Barker, I would have to go with Imajica.  It was freakishly long… and I finished it in two days the first time I read it.  It was like going to Narnia for adults.  Some scenes I could’ve lived without, but the characters were riveting.  I love how he makes antagonists just as human, if not more so, as the protagonists.
Neil Gaiman, definitely American Gods.  It was an amazingly creative work and has stood for five years now as my all time favorite book.  Being a huge fan of mythology growing up, this modern take on everything with some cynical stabs at the faith of today’s society made this a brilliant must-read.
Nova – What do you do when you’re not writing?
Matt – Thinking about writing.  Not really.  I’m a husband and father above everything else.  I have three young, beautiful daughters and they take up most of my days.  I tutor at-risk kids in the evenings.  I love to read, though can’t do it as much as I’d appreciate these days.  But ya know, plenty of time for that in the future!
Nova – Have you always wanted to be an author?
Matt – After I realized that astronauts didn’t fight aliens and police officers spent twelve hours a day sitting in a car with a radar gun or answering neighbor complaints about parking on the curb, making the world more fascinating just seemed the way to go.
Nova – How did you break into the industry?
Matt –Same way anybody does.  I wrote a book (well.. a couple of them)  I’d been planning on going the traditional publishing route with Towers… then I was disheartened while speaking with a couple of high-profile authors.  One in particular said, if he had to do it all over again, he’d go indie.
I wanted to have final say in my book’s content.  I wanted to design my own cover.  I think the big kicker was… I didn’t want to wait 12-18 months for my book to hit the shelves.  Sure it’s not going to be picked up at any of the big chains anytime soon, but I like having control over something this dear to me instead of handing it over to a bunch of strangers who rate books by sales numbers and dollar figures.
The first day Towers was on the market, I had a free day for the Kindle version.  Every hour or so I’d check the stats and grin.  By the end of the sale, over 350 people worldwide had grabbed a copy of my book.  I was ecstatic.  Sure it’s a giveaway and some people will grab anything if it’s free.  But the idea that my story appealed to so many people felt amazing.
I think Tom Sawyer said it best: “There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would resign.”
Nova – What is your writing style? Do you create outlines for your writing or do you just sit and type away?
Matt – I create outlines… pretty intricate ones… and then ignore them and let the characters go wild.  Sometimes they follow their lines, and other times they rewrite the scenes.  Things flow better this way.  You can’t force a character into a scene.  Clever readers will see right through it.
Nova – What is your next project? What have you been working on recently?
Matt – I’m back and forth.  I’ve been working at the next in the World Between series, Impulse, and working on a couple of urban fairy tale novellas.
Nova – What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Matt – The creation process.  I love building people and worlds from scratch, writing out their histories for my own personal resource and then watching them interact with each other.  This actually kills me.  I’ll be half-way through a manuscript and suddenly get a GREAT idea that I’m dying to work on.
Nova – Least favorite?
Matt – Scenes that don’t fit.  Sometimes you write a chapter, then look at it in the grand scheme of things to realize that it just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the story, and have to figure out a completely different way to get the same point across.
Now for the silly questions! Hang on to your hat! :)
Nova – Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what’s on your playlist!?
Matt – This isn’t silly at all!  Music plays a big role in setting and holding the mood of a scene.  I listen to a lot of industrial/electronica.  Towers was mostly soundtracked by The Luna Sequence with some Celldweller thrown in for the heavier scenes.
Nova – Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Matt – A few.  I’m a big fan of the Kairosoft games like Game Dev Story and Venture Town.  They’re like cutesy little sim games.
Nova – What is your favorite word?
Matt – “Stratosphere” – no idea why, just like the way it sounds.
Nova – What is your least favorite word?
Matt – “Wakeup.”  Most evil word in any language.
Nova – Do you talk to your characters?
Matt – No?  They have a distinctive voice in my head, but we don’t discuss politics over coffee or anything.
Nova – What sound do you love?
Matt – Music boxes.  The old classic ones with the bumps on the spindle running past a comb of metal teeth.  There’s just something timelessly magical about the sounds they create.
Nova – What sound do you hate?
Matt – Whining!  Comes a lot in a house full of girls!
Nova – What’s your favorite time of year?
Matt – Autumn.  Fortunately, I live in Texas.. so we don’t really have winter, just extended autumn.
Nova – Tell us a bit about your girls!
Matt – I think the most interesting thing about my daughters is that, even though they’re still young (my youngest is 1) they each have very distinctive personalities.  And they’re completely different from each other.  My middle daughter was diagnosed with autism about a year ago.  When she turned three this past September, I left my job to be a stay at home dad and work in the evenings so I could take her to and from therapies.  It’s amazing the amount of progress she’s made in such a short time.  She went from being completely non-verbal to repeating phrases like ‘apple sauce’ and ‘upside down’.  It sounds like such a little thing, but it means the world to us.  But getting to stay home all day with my girls is wonderful.  It was a really hard adjustment at first, having been used to getting up and going to work every morning, but once you work out some priorities, there’s no place I’d rather be.
Nova – What’s your favorite thing about being a dad?
Matt – Meeting my children.  I always hear people say, “Enjoy them while they’re young,” but I look forward to knowing my girls at every age of their life.
Thank you so much for taking the time to indulge my curiosity!
Anytime!  I had a great time with it and hope your husband enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  And thanks again for having me!

About Matthew:

Husband to a wonderful woman who challenges me and pushes me in all the best ways… and makes me do laundry. Father to three incredible girls (I am the masculine minority) who make a hero out of me.
I write because it’s my passion. The rest of my heart belongs to my family.

Original interview and the guilty pleasures blog of My Seryniti is here: http://myseryniti.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/interview-with-matthew-bryant/

Congrats, Matthew Bryant! Thanks for stopping by and sharing this great interview.

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Debut Novels A Plenty!

So many of our writers are sharing their debut novels this last quarter, and we couldn’t be more proud of them!

Kimberly Packard’s PHOENIX was released from GoodMedia Press in November.

Matthew Bryant’s TOWERS was released from Amazon this past month as well.

Jeff Bacot’s ON THE HOLE was released from Amazon several weeks ago.

C.A Szarek’s SWORD’S CALL will be released from Gypsy Shadow Publishing in January 2013.

Congrats to all of our debut authors! We’re so proud and wish you all the best in your careers!

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Glowing Review of On The Hole by Jeff Bacot

Jeff Bacot is a freelance writer of fiction and blogger of unconventional thought. His novel ON THE HOLE was recently published and released and is available on Amazon.com or Barnes and Nobles.com. He is an active member of The Greater Fort Worth Writers group. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University.

Foreword Reviews gave a glowing review of GFW Writer member (and President Elect) Jeff Bacot’s debut novel, On The Hole.
Read the entire review here:

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History and Romance in Ft Worth, Texas with Sara Luck

Sara Luck has written several historical romance novels, each with their own special flare of realism that required countless hours of tantalizing research. CLAIMING THE HEART captures the history of Fort Worth, Texas (home to Greater Ft Worth Writers) and the Railroad boom of the 1870’s, intermingled in with significant events around the United States. Sara Luck joins us today to share her experiences and relentless pursuit of researching America’s thrilling history.
 
CLAIMING THE HEART took an enormous amount of research into American history after the Civil War, specifically in Texas. What is your research process like?
Ft Worth Tarantula Train
It is probably overkill. Every time I read some little kernel, I can’t let it be. I have to find out who that person was and what their connection was. For every one fact that gets into the book, I have discarded three times that much. For instance, in Claiming the Heart, I found an old deed for a bone crushing factory. (If you have read the book, the hero’s father was a bone crusher.) I could have put in how many train loads of buffalo bones came in and how much fertilizer was made and where it was sent. All that stuff is useless information in a romance, wouldn’t you say? So getting back to your question, what is my research process like–the answer is that it never stops
What aspects of research do you like most and why? Social, economic, wars/politics?
If I could answer all of the above, I would. I have always enjoyed history and minored in political science in college. In researching these books, I am delving into a specific time period, generally 1870 to 1900. I try to find primary sources and if not actual primary sources at least contemporary sources. I’ve found Google books and Gutenberg to be invaluable resources. In reading these old books and magazines, I find myself constantly comparing what is happening today with what happened in the nineteenth century. I find in my research that the kernel of wisdom, ‘history repeats itself,’ is so true.
 
Tell us how you first started your writing career. Agent searching, querying, getting ‘the call’.
Author Sara Luck
My situation is probably somewhat different from the experience most new writers have. I’ve been married to an author  for nearly forty years.  My husband, Robert Vaughan, has written so many books that he actually has lost count, and he has written in all genres except horror and science fiction. He frequently speaks at writers conferences, and in fact, he and I together had our own writing seminar for fifteen years. We invited writers to come to our home and Robert tutored our guests individually, while I cooked and cleaned. We called it ‘Write on the Beach’ because our house is on the Alabama beach at Fort Morgan. For all those years, I was often privy to the conversations that he had with writers, so over the years, I thought I could write a novel, too. I finally finished my first manuscript, after five years, and we tried to market it. I insisted that I didn’t want to ride the coattails of my husband, so we sent the book to an agent who had been an assistant in the agency that handled my husband’s projects at the time, so she knew me. That book circulated, but did not sell. So I wrote another one. And then I wrote another one. None of the three was ever sold, so I put them away and didn’t think about being a writer anymore.
Then I bought a set of books called The Journals of Alfred Doten 1843-1903 for my husband. This set of books was the chronicle of one man’s life for sixty years, and I found it very interesting, but Robert was too busy writing to ever really look at this treasure. But I kept goading him to write a book about the Comstock Lode and use all this material. Finally, he’d had enough, and he said, “if you think these books are so great, you write a story.” And so I did.
This time I did not make the mistake of bypassing my husband’s agent. He took the manuscript and sold a two-book contract to Simon and Schuster.
What inspired you to write about Fort Worth?
This is not the answer you will expect, but it is the truth. My husband  is ghostwriting for a very successful franchise right now, and his editor told him to write a book about Texas.
“Anything about Texas will sell,” he said. So I thought if that was true in his field, why wouldn’t it be true for a romance as well? Jodi Thomas among countless others has realized this truism.
The next piece to the puzzle was to find a story.
I said that my husband and I had hosted ‘Write on the Beach,’ for fifteen years. Among our guests on multiple occasions were Annie Miller Tinsley and Jack before his death. Jack, who WAS the Star Telegram as far as I was concerned, had countless stories about Fort Worth. It was because of him that I had invested in another series of books called History of Texas; Fort Worth and the Texas Northwest Edition by Buckley B. Paddock who was also a newspaper publisher in Fort Worth. I had never read the four volumes, so I took them off the shelf and began. When I came to the story of bringing the Texas and Pacific Railroad into the city, I thought that story exemplified the attitude of self-reliance and pride that Jack Tinsley had always imparted to me about current residents of the city.
Do you write any other genres?
I do not. The first book I wrote was a contemporary novel, and I found in writing that book, it was much harder to recreate a believable world in real time, than it is to create a world in the past. Most people have not researched the past in depth, but they are certainly living the present.  And if an author messes up on something that the reader knows very well, if she is like I am, she will put the book down and never finish it.
What do you find most challenging about your writing?
The discipline. In the book that I am working on right now, the heroine is being sent to the Academie Julian, an art school in Paris. This is a very minor part of the story, and it should only be half a chapter at the least and a whole chapter at the most, yet I have researched it to death (see above!). When I get into trouble, I take the dog for a walk, and on this particular scene, he’s been going out at least every two hours.
What do you find the most rewarding about your writing career?
As I have said, I have been on the periphery of writing for a very long time, but I have always been in the background. I have been the one who put together publicity packets, (before the internet) booked radio stations, and generally kept track of my husband’s career. Now for the first time, I fully understand what he meant when he used to say he would be depressed when he finished a book. The characters truly become like real people, and when the book is finished, you know you will never see those people again.  But meeting them is a pleasure.  
What is the craziest/most unusual piece of advice you’ve received from an editor, agent, or author?
I’ll have to think about this one.  Because I’ve been involved in this business so long, I’ve developed a filter of sorts, and I’m able to use what is useable, and discard what isn’t.  Perhaps there is some truth in “familiarity breeds contempt” because I don’t always accept my husband’s advice at face value. I don’t think anyone intends to give bad advice, so whatever someone says, I try to understand how it could possibly relate to me. Peoples’ advice is usually drawn from their own experience , so I try to evaluate why they feel as they do and take what I can get from anyone.
What piece of advice would you give to new writers?
My advice would be, that no matter what you write, make certain what you write is true, and I don’t mean just factually true. I believe that future generations will look to novels to get a feel for the period, just as I have gone back and read some of Mark Twain and Owen Wister and Anthony Trollope to get a feel  for the nineteenth century. As newspapers and magazines become less and less important in our internet age, the little things that make us who we are as a society, will be lost, and it will be in novels that people get their history.
What authors and genres do you like to read?
As any of you who have a book under contract can appreciate,  your own reading for pleasure suffers.  When I’ve had enough of nonfiction, I turn to a romance novel for pure enjoyment. I believe that my favorite romance author is Elizabeth Lowell when she writes historicals. I also like Linda Lael Miller and Cat Martin.
If you could have a beer/coffee/tea with a literary luminary (living or dead), who would it be and why?
As I attempted to say in my advice to new writers when I said write what is true, it is my belief that Margaret Mitchell has taught us more about the Civil War than any textbook could possibly have done. As a novice, she was able to create characters and a story line that no one can forget. And at the same time, she made us empathize, no matter what personal feelings we brought to the story about whose side was right or wrong. I would very much like to sit down with her and find out how she learned to do that. It was truly a gift.
What’s next for you?
I have a new book out right now, (August, 2012) called Tallie’s Hero. It is about an English author who writes a novel based on Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Albert Edward.  The Queen is displeased, and Tallie, with the help of her friend, Jennie Churchill, seeks refuge in America. She goes to a ranch in Wyoming operated by Jennie’s brother-in-law, Morton Frewen. It just so happens that my hero, Jeb Tuhill, is a business partner and hands-on cattleman at that ranch, and Tallie finds him unbelievably attractive.
As with Claiming the Heart and my first book, Susanna’s Choice, except for obvious fictional characters, all the characters are historical personages.
In February of 2013, Rimfire Bride will be released. It is set in the Dakota Territory in and around Bismarck. Jana Hartmann is a school teacher from Illinois, who wants to become a homesteader  to make a better life for herself and her sister, but Drew Malone, a widower with two little boys, has other plans for her.
I am currently working on a book with the tentative title, The Lieutenant’s Lady. It is about Marci Winters, a feisty young lady who finds herself in one scrape after another and is forced to accept a position as a photographer’s assistant in Yellowstone National Park, when the park was patrolled by the United States Army. Here she is reunited with a young lieutenant, Cade McDowell, whom she had met in his cadet days at West Point, and a relationship is rekindled.
Where can we buy your books and find you on the web?
All the books are available at traditional points of purchase, as well as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I have a website, www.saraluck.com and I would love to receive email at saraluckbooks@gmail.com   I also would like to become your friend on facebook. I read Kristen Lamb’s blog all the time, and her words haunt me. When this book is finished, I’m going to try to take her words to heart and work harder on my social media skills.

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Burning Bridges Clouds Your Path by Susie Sheehey

Susie Sheehey is president of Greater Ft Worth Writers, in her second term. She writes women’s contemporary and romance and has completed two novels in the past year, and just started another one. She lives with her husband and rowdy 3-year-old son who loves to push her buttons. She had several long and educational years of sales experience in the healthcare field. As a former springboard diver, she’s been glued to the television the last week for the 2012 Olympics in London.

The smoke from the fire you create with your words will always cloud your future. One way or another. And who wants to walk through the world blind, choking on smoke?
I recently read a blog post from a literary agent (whom I respect and follow regularly) that disturbed me. He had attended a few conferences where he’d overheard several writers bashing him and/or his agency in one way or another. Combined with a few other factors, he decided to close his agency to new submissions until further notice.
I think this is a bit of an overreaction, but at the very least it;s extremely disappointing to hear writers doing this. Granted, publishing is subjective and everyone has his/her opinion. Every agent works differently and won’t get along perfectly with every writer (and vice versa). Not everyone is bound to agree all the time. It’s just the nature of the business. Heck, that’s human nature.
But even if you have a disagreement with an agent or editor, you at least need to be civil in parting ways and (more importantly) how you carry yourself in the future. This includes what you say on social media sites, and what comments you make to others. AKA- gossiping. Either in personal or digitally. It’s so high school, and even when I was in high school, I hated it. So adults should definitely not partake.
Remember the phrase: 
“Be mindful of the toes you step on today for they may be attached to the ass you must kiss tomorrow.”
Trust me- this will happen. It may take a week, a year, or ten years. But it will eventually happen. Be honest with yourself: don’t you remember something hateful someone said to you when you were in high school? Middle school? College? Your first internship? And don’t you agree the next time you see them you’d have those comments in the back of your mind?
If you’re in complete denial with the statements above, at the very least you should be mindful of the golden rule you should have learned in kindergarten:
“Treat others the way you would like to be treated.”
I remember the first Author Workshop I attended several years ago where the author spent the first half-hour bashing her former publisher, cover artist, editor and everyone under the sun having anything to do with her novel. And my take-away from that workshop: I won’t buy any of her books.
Not because she turned me off to the publisher or disliked the premise of her novels, but her bashing gave me a horrible impression of her. I refused to support someone who was so negative and had no care with the words she chose.
Yes, we live in the United States where the First Amendment is upheld at all costs. You can say whatever you want to anyone at anytime; that’s your right. But karma’s a bitch, people. 
These are just my thoughts on how you create relationships, professional or personal. ‘Keeping silent when you have nothing nice to say’ is easier said than done. But I always remember that I don’t want to have smoke covering my path going forward. 
Follow Susie on her blog at susansheehey.wordpress.com
Follow her on @susieQwriter or Facebook www.facebook.com/susiesheehey.

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Upsides & Downsides to Self-Publishing from Jeff Turner


Jeff Turner joins us today to share a few tidbits about his upcoming self-published novel Notes to My Kids: Little Stories About Grown Up Kids, as well as share his experience in self-publishing. He has published two books of memoirs, the story of a marriage before divorce and another after divorce, Notes To Stephanie: Middle Aged Love Letters and Life Stories and Notes To Stephanie: Days Remembered


Thanks for joining us today, Jeff.

What compelled you to write these short stories about/to your children? 
My first two books are about me and my ex-wife Stephanie.  These are non-fiction of course.  After I finished the second book I decided to write more “Notes”books using stories about my family.  Hence the third book is about my two children.  A fourth will be about stories from my own life before my kids were born.

Which of the stories is your favorite? 

Oh boy that is a hard one.  There are several possible candidates for sure.  One is “An Autographed Pizza Box” which is about my son having the owner of a favorite pizza joint autograph one of his pizza boxes like the man was a pro-athlete or celebrity – there is a mP3 file of this on my website.  And one about my daughter at Christmas time “One Xmas At Granbury” which describes her in a little girl wonderland of sorts as we went through a giant indoor Christmas diorama/knickknack display at a library.  These stories are special since they both describe an event that has stuck in my memory but also shows a special side of their personality.

Which was the most challenging to write and why? 

Some of the stories about the troubles my son had, born three months prematurely, were the hardest since he very nearly died.  Writing about those times made many strong emotions well up inside of me for obvious reasons.  It was a “yin-yang” sort of thing since he is now a 27-year-old grown man working in telecom and you would never know what happened to him if you saw him.   And some focused solely about my daughter made the memories well up too – like the Note “Home With Baby Jane” where I tell about how I once snapped at her, much to my regret, but it was something that showed the loving sides of her personality and mine both.  Finally, the Notes that talk about their grandparents also show strong feelings.   In short, being a loving dad made many things came back into focus as I recalled the times when they were little and the places we had been together.  Thus a sense of home and family comes out in many of the Notes.  Here is one example from “The New Park”:
The New Park will remain with me always.  A place filled with many cherished recollections of your young and little years – memories of many good, fun, and exciting times spent together under its shady trees.  It is a place that is pleasant, comforting, and filled only with good.  All of the parks in our lives should forever be that way unlike the trying playgrounds we see so often in our lives”.
How did you decide to Self-Publish? 
I looked into getting in print the old fashioned way and weighed the amount of time and effort that might take against the type of work I do which is consulting which sometimes requires long and weird hours plus travel and decided this would be easier time-wise.  Plus I would retain control of the process – being a project manager this fits my personality to be able to manage things.  So I read some books on it – you can see such works on Amazon – and the rest is history, to use the cliché.

What are the upsides to Self-Publishing, in your experience? The downsides?  

I alluded to the upsides above as you can see: you retain control over the effort.  The downside is that you have to do all of the work yourself, which implies a learning curve.  One of the biggest hurdles is marketing one’s works to get sales.  That is the biggest thing I am still trying to learn how to do.
What would you advise to authors considering self-publishing?  
You should do your homework in detail – read the several good books on the subject to see how it works and what the options are, make sure your personality fits the model you choose, and be willing to do the work that is required to produce and market your product.  Speaking of marketing I have done some book signings, and have sent out review copies of the book among other things.  You should be willing to try new things and experiment to find what works best for you – again I’m still working on that part!

What’s next for you? 

When I get the book about my kids done I will move on to the book about my own growing up years.  I have a chapter outline already done.  After that the actual writing will ensue.  Plus I have some rough ideas for a fifth “Notes” book, which will be a collection of things I have written here and there on a variety of things.  Some of these appear on my own blog and I want to say some are here as well.

If you could have coffee/tea/martinis with any person (living or dead), who would it be with and why? 
Being a history buff I could name several people but since there is only one choice I would choose General George S. Patton. I’ve read books about him, including two volumes of letters he wrote, and of course enjoyed the two movies about him from Hollywood: Patton and the Last Days Of Patton.  I would like to see firsthand what he was like and not just through the lens of books or films.


Come back on Friday for an excerpt of Notes to My Kids: Little Stories About Grown Up Kids, including a chance to win a free set of his memoirs to one lucky commentator. Contact Jeff at the following sites.


www.ilypants.net and jeffturnerbooks.wordpress.com

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